40 sit-ups. I HATE situps.
In the midst of grading, munchkins. So here's something from an e-mail I wrote this morning to a mailing list I'm on (sf/f list) where a discussion rages on elder care:
I just finished reading a student paper on elder care in America. Some brief statistics:
"Professional care in nursing homes and assisted living centers across the country is very expensive with the exclusive facilities averaging $40,000/yr and the more moderate facilities averaging $22,000/yr. At an inflation rate of 7.2% yearly, the cost for moderate care in 2020 will grow to $82,500 per person. By the year 2040, when Social Security isprojected to be completely exhausted and with the number of retired persons representing 23% of the total population, the average yearly cost will be approximately $139,000."
I believe elder care is going to become the major social issue in about a decade. There are a lot of possible solutions, but clearly better individual financial planning is going to be a critical component. And for those of us who are writers or otherwise self-employed, it's going to be especially serious that we allocate money to insurance for long-term health care. (Insurance company saying: "People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.")
Me, I'm still trying clear my credit card debt; I'm not close to that sort of financial planning yet. But for those of you who can afford to do it, I really urge you to look into it...and for those of us who can't -- can we afford not to? Ugh.
Socially, it seems likely that in the next decades women will once again be taking on caregiver roles -- "the average caregiver is the middle-aged woman. In fact, 72% of all caregivers are women who care for their own parents or a parent-in-law.....within the next five years, 37% of U.S. workerswill be more concerned about caring for an elderly relative than for a child." Consider what it will mean for our society if women start leaving the workforce in order to provide elder care.
My students, living in Utah, posit more multigenerational and extended households as part of the solution, but I really wonder whether that's a viable solution in most of the country, one that people will be willing to implement. I suspect that in any case, women will bear the brunt of the hidden costs.